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Link: • John Ellis to Carl Linnaeus, 31 January 1766 n.s.
Dated Jan: 31. 1766. Sent from London (Great Britain) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in English.

D[ea]r Sir,

I rec’d your instructive kind letter of the 27 of Dec[em]b[e]r, with one enclosd to our mutual Friend D[octo]r Garden, which shall be forwarded the very first opportunity. Your reasons for thinking the rare Animal (Mud Iguana)[a][a] : MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana as he calls it to be quite a new genus, are very convincing to me. I forgot to take a copy of his description, which I wish you would send me in your next, for the satisfaction of many curious people here.

I find in Hasselquist, that the Lacerta (Gecko) makes a noise not unlike the croaking of a frog, which is another probable reason[b][b] : MS 1 <proof> reason you give of our animal being come[c][c] : MS. 1 our ... to [added above
the line
to its perfect state.

I have desir’d M[iste]r Lee’s partner in trade, whom I lately saw, to put him in mind of the roots of the Sanguinaria for you. I shall write to him to send them in a small box, with earth and moss, for you, to my care.

I have wrote to D[octo]r Garden about sending you what Specimens of his new plants he[d][d] : MS. 1 <that he> he has left; for he says he sent them to a person in London who I know has no taste. If I can find that person, I will endeavour to get them.

There is now printing in Holland a book on Zoophytes by D[octo]r Pallas of Berlin, who was 2 years ago in England, but has since resided at the Hague, where he has access to the Prince of Oranges cabinet. This Gentleman, I find by one M[iste]r Brunnich, a Danish Gentleman, sent over here by that Court to travel for the sake of Natural History & agriculture, has treated both you and me with a freedom unbecoming so young a man. D[octo]r Solander has seen the book, and has advisd M[iste]r Brunnich to write to D[octo]r Pallas to reprint that part that makes so free with you. As to me, if he does not act as a gentleman, I shall take particular notice of his Criticisms in the book I propose to publish, which I hope will travel as far as his. For my part, I know my errors, and should have taken notice of them in my 2d Volume; for I never attempted at being Systematical, all I ever aimed at, was to observe those rare things in nature that were before unattended to; and to leave such eminent persons as you to arrange them properly. This behaviour is one of the Obstacles to the investigation of Nature, and deserves to be taken notice of[e][e] : MS 1 of [added above the
; for no Checks should be given to such laudable pursuits. D[octo]r Job Baster of Zurichzee and this man are particular friends; and I find Pallas has used me with so much ill nature, because I exposd the Absurdities of Baster’s doctrine and experiments, in our Philosophical Transactions.

D[octo]r Solander was yesterday at our famous Anatomist’s D[octo]r Hunter’s, to see 4 Specimens of this new Animal Mud Iguana,[f][f] : MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana but none of them are so large as the dried Specimen that I have, which is 31 Inches long. He has dissected one of them, & says it has the same kind of teeth, and is, in every respect, like our Lacerta (call’d in English Eft or Newt) in its Aquatic or Larva State, and differs in nothing from it, but in having only two feet. D[octo]r Hunter says that both the Larvae of our Lacerta, and the Iguana,[g][g] : MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana have gills & Lungs. D[octo]r Solander, M[iste]r Brunnich, & I din’d together this day, and drank your good health. M[iste]r Brunnich proposes to write to you next post.

I shall forward by the first Ship your letter to D[octo]r Garden inclosd in my letter, he seems uneasy at not having his Diploma from you. I wrote to him to tell him he (you?) [h][h] : MS. 1 (you?) [added above the
would give any satisfaction he pleasd on that head.

I have some specimens of what were sent here as species of Corallina of your System, which I must send you to examine, the limits between the animal & vegetable world are difficult to determine, more particularly in this Genus, but I shall be happy for them to undergo your examination. I have likewise some rare fuci, which I have for a long time determin’d to send you. Now I am resolv’d you shall have them by the first Ship. My best wishes attend you, assuring you,

D[ea]r Sir, that I am and shall always acknowledge myself greatly
indebted to you, & with great Respect
You most Obed[ien]t humble Serv[an]t, John Ellis

Grays Inn in London
Jan[uary] 31. 1766.

The Right Honorable
Charles von Linné
Knight of the Polar Star
Post P[ai]d


Not yet available


a. original holograph (LS, XVII, 125-126). [1] [2] [3]


1. A selection (1821), vol. 1, p. 185-187   p.185  p.186  p.187.


MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana
MS 1 <proof> reason
MS. 1 our ... to [added above the line]
MS. 1 <that he> he
MS 1 of [added above the line]
MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana
MS. 1 <Inguana> Iguana
MS. 1 (you?) [added above the line]